Innovation and Conflict Management in Work Teams: The Effects of Team Identification and Task and Relationship Conflict

Helena Syna Desivilya, Anit Somech, Helena Lidgoster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract The current study attempted to elucidate the mechanisms whereby constructive-cooperative conflict management (integrating) fosters innovation in work teams. The proposed conceptual model postulated that the positive function of integrating in precipitating innovation is motivated by prosocial team atmosphere as manifested in team identity, the team?s capacity to mitigate the adverse impact of relationship conflict and its capability to maximize the potential gains of task conflict. Specifically, it was hypothesized: (a) integrating would predict innovation. (b) Team identity would be positively related to integrating, and that integrating would mediate the positive relationship between team identity and team innovation. (c) Task conflict would be positively related to integrating whereas relationship conflict would be negatively related to integrating. This research embraced a team-level perspective and analysis. Seventy-seven intact work teams from high-technology companies participated in the study. The findings, by and large, supported the proposed conceptual model, especially the contention that teams? proclivities with respect to conflict management play a pivotal role in their capacity to function in an innovative manner. A team?s integrating pattern meaningfully predicted team innovation. The mediating effect of the integrating strategy on the relationship between team identity and team innovation was also demonstrated. Finally, relationship conflict was negatively associated with a team?s integrating pattern, while the positive association of task conflict with the cooperative strategy was marginally significant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-48
Number of pages21
JournalNegotiation and Conflict Management Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note


  • team
  • conflict management
  • innovation
  • team identity
  • task conflict
  • relationship conflict


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